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Recruitment, retention and resignation among Non-Career Firefighters

Emelie Lantz (Division of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Marcus Runefors (Division of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 26 August 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021




The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of literature about recruitment, retention and resignation among non-career firefighters.


A systematic review was conducted to identify factors associated with the recruitment, retention and resignation of non-career firefighters. The authors divided the results into three topics and four levels for further analysis.


27 articles are included in the review. Most research addresses retention at an organizational level and indicates a link between job satisfaction and factors such as supervisor support, recognition and close relationships within the workgroup. Further, a recurring reason that contributes to resignations seems to be family related (e.g. partner disapproval).

Research limitations/implications

There is a lack of European and Asian research into non-career firefighters. The included research papers generally have low response rates and the sample is often mostly male and Caucasians from a limited area.

Practical implications

The identified factors offer deeper understanding and can help practitioners in their pursuit of the sustainable retention of non-career firefighters.


Because securing adequate numbers of non-career firefighters is important, there is a need to synthesize current evidence to identify and further understand which factors contribute to retention. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first systematic review to synthesize such evidence about non-career firefighters.



The research in this paper is conducted as a part of the Research School for Doctoral Students within the Swedish Rescue Services, established and funded by Brandforsk (The Swedish Fire Research Foundation) and the MSB (The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency). The first author would like to thank her employer, Räddningstjänsten Västra Blekinge (West Blekinge Fire and Rescue Service), for giving her the opportunity to pursue the studies as part of her work.


Lantz, E. and Runefors, M. (2021), "Recruitment, retention and resignation among Non-Career Firefighters", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 26-39.



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